Varicose veins are most common in the legs, but they can also occur in the arms. Find out what causes this uncomfortable condition — and how you can treat it.

A common misconception surrounding varicose veins is that they occur only in the legs. In fact, it’s relatively common for varicose veins to appear at several key points throughout the body, including the arms. Varicose veins are also frequently found in the esophagus, genitals, and pelvis.

Here’s what you need to know about varicose veins in your arms, and when it’s time to seek treatment.

What Causes Varicose Veins? 

Varicose veins are caused by a condition called venous insufficiency, which means your veins have trouble circulating blood throughout your body. Veins operate using a combination of valves and muscles to pump oxygenated blood back to the heart. When a valve becomes too weak to keep your blood flowing, blood can pool in your veins like in a stopped water hose. The backup of blood causes your veins to twist and swell, which can lead to varicose veins. 

Varicose veins often occur in the legs because your valves have to work harder to push blood against gravity all the way back to the heart. But varicose veins can occur in the arms, too. You may have an increased risk of varicose veins in the arms if you have a family history of varicose veins, if you are overweight or pregnant, or if you are experiencing major hormonal changes, such as those that occur during menopause. 

Symptoms of Varicose Veins in the Arms

The telltale sign of varicose veins is a twisted or swollen vein that protrudes from your skin. Varicose veins are often darker than the rest, sometimes approaching a deep blue or blackish purple. People with varicose veins often feel a sense of heaviness or a dull ache in the area around the affected vein. Sometimes, varicose veins can also cause an itching sensation. 

If you see a twisted or swollen vein in your arm, there’s no cause for panic. Varicose veins are not usually dangerous, though they can lead to discomfort — and they may be unpleasant to look at. In comparatively rare cases, varicose veins can lead to more severe symptoms like hardened skin or venous ulcers.

If your varicose veins are causing you pain or discomfort, consult a doctor right away. Severe varicose veins can lead to clotting disorders like deep vein thrombosis (DVT). 

How to Find Treatment

There are plenty of reasons why patients seek treatment for varicose veins. Most commonly, people simply become fed up with the appearance of their protruding veins. Especially if you have varicose veins in a prominent location such as the arms, swollen or discolored veins can be quite unpleasant to look at. Patients may also seek treatment to remedy the itching, aching, or painful sensations that can result from varicose veins. 

If you have varicose veins, know that you’re not alone — the condition is common in both men and women. Varicose veins are most prominent in older adults, but they can affect young people, too. 

To learn more about minimally-invasive varicose vein treatments, such as sclerotherapy or endovenous ablation, give us a call at Siragusa Vein & Laser. With clinics in Nashville and Hermitage, we offer some of the most qualified vein experts in the Nashville Metro area, in a welcoming atmosphere.

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